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1411056005
Norichika Aoki on tear in leading Royals roll offensively
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

The Royals have picked it up lately offensively and right fielder Norichika Aoki is greatly responsible.

Aoki has been white-hot with 11 hits in his last 13 at-bats to raise his average 16 points to .281 - no easy feat at this time of year. That mark is at its highest point since May 25, but his overall hot streak has extended back to Aug. 27. Aoki has hit safely in all but four games since then and is 28 for 72 during that stretch.

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1411055227
Jimmy Paredes making impact with strong run
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Third baseman Jimmy Paredes has received significant work and has taken advantage of it since arriving with the Orioles in late August.

Paredes has received an increasing number of plate appearances, particularly since the loss of Chris Davis to a drug suspension. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games with 13 hits, including two home runs, in 33 at-bats. He has eight RBI and seven runs scored during that stretch.

He boasts a tremendous stat line of .358/.383/.578.

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1411054483
Avisail Garcia solid, but not slugging in September
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

White Sox outfelder Avisail Garcia has inched his average in a positive direction since bottoming out at .222 on Aug. 30.

Garcia is 17 for 57 since then with one home run and nine RBI. But he has just one extra-base hit since Sept. 3. His stat line now sits at .254/.318/.413.

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1411054017
Lorenzo Cain on roll for Royals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain merely accentuated a strong stretch Wednesday night against Chicago, when he blasted a three-run homer off super southpaw Chris Sale and added two more hits.

Cain has hit so well that he has been moved to the third spot in the lineup. He has hit safely in seven of his last eight games with 12 hits in 32 at-bats during that run. Cain has eight RBI and seven runs scored in his last 10 games, sweetening his stat line on the season to .298/.337/.413. He has also contributed 25 stolen bases.

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1411053641
Yasmani Grandal bringing good and bad news to the plate
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

A 19-for-74 stretch might not seem like much, but it's an encouraging run for Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal considering he began it batting .202.

Grandal began the comparative hot stretch on Aug. 26. He has three home runs and 10 RBI in 20 games during that period, but remains a windmill at the plate. He has 19 strikeouts in the last 16 games and has fanned 102 times in 345 at-bats this season.

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1411052274
Wade LeBlanc set to start Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who was clobbered in his last opportunity to start for the Angels, will get another shot Saturday at home against Texas. He is replacing the injured Matt Shoemaker.

LeBlanc has been fine in relief with four consecutive scoreless appearances covering five innings. But he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings in an Aug. 25 start against Miami. He owns a 6.88 ERA on the season.

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1411051834
MRI reveals only jammed shoulder for Eduardo Escobar
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar underwent an MRI on his right shoulder Wednesday that revealed no structural damage. He was diagnosed with a jammed shoulder and is considered day to day, per mlb.com.

Escobar hurt the shoulder diving for a ball Tuesday and was forced out of the game.

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1411051237
A.J. Burnett indicates he's been pitching hurt this season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett has hinted that he's been plagued by a physical issue this season, but declined to elaborate.

Burnett indicated that he felt terrible much of the year, though he used an unprintable word. Ryne Sandberg said Wednesday, however, that he was unaware of any such problem for Burnett aside from an inguinal hernia that has been known since April.

The veteran starter is 8-17 with a disappointing 4.40 ERA. He leads the majors in losses and walks (87), but is set to make $12.75 million in 2015. Sandberg has been impressed with his durability - Burnett has made 32 starts this season.

"If anything he has displayed just the opposite," Sandberg said about Burnett's health. "Very durable guy with innings, the length that he does give, durable arm. The hernia thing ... from my knowledge, that's been a non-issue."

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1411050298
Rusney Castillo 'satisfied' with effort in first game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Red Sox promising outfielder Rusney Castillo expressed contentedness Wednesday night after recording his first major league hit in four at-bats in a lopsided loss to Pittsburgh. His hit never left the infield, but he's not complaining.

"I'm pretty satisfield with that being my first game," he told MLB.com. "Obviously you'd like a better outcome in terms of winning the game. But I was pretty satisfied with my overall approach and the way I stepped in today and had some results."

Castillo snagged the only ball hit his way in the outfield.

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1411049809
Andrelton Simmons ankle fine
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

The ankle injury that Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons aggrevated Wednesday night is not severe enough to keep him out of the lineup going forward, per MLB.com.

Though he was removed from the game in the fourth inning against Washington and was walking with a noticeable limp after the game, Simmons said it wasn't hurting him.

"It's not a sprained ankle," Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's more of an Achilles thing, up high, that bites him every once in a while. I didn't want to take a chance with it."

Simmons ended his six-game hitting streak with a 0-for-2 performance and now owns a stat line of .251/.297/.374.

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